Minister of State Kitt pledges €200,000 for Tibetan Community in India
Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights Mr. Tom Kitt T.D.today met with Mrs Kesang Takla of Tibet House Trust based in London. During the discussions Minister of State Kitt announced funding of €200,000 focussed on the development needs of the Tibetan community based in India.
The new assistance will help Tibet House Trust to fund programmes in India, including the improvement of agricultural and animal husbandry practices of Tibetan settlements. The objective of the programme is to meet the basic needs of the Tibetan community in a sustainable way.
Unemployment and HIV/Aids will also be targeted by the funding.
Minister of State Kitt noted “I am deeply aware that while some Tibetans in India have achieved economic self-sufficiency many others, including the elderly, women-headed households and new arrivals are struggling in meeting their day to day needs. This grant is designed to give added impetus to the ongoing development programme implemented by the Tibetans themselves. I am particularly pleased that community participation in identifying community needs and sustainable solutions is an inherent component of the programme. Local ownership and direction of development processes is a key element of successful development interventions. I am confident that this grant can make a real difference to people's lives”.
Turning to the broader question of human rights in Tibet, Minister Kitt reaffirmed Ireland's concerns regarding the human rights situation in China, including Tibet, concerns which are shared by our EU partners. The Minister also recommitted Ireland to using the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue as the best means of pursuing human rights questions with the Chinese authorities.
Minister Kitt stated that the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue does not preclude raising the human rights situation in China, including Tibet, in other fora. In this regard Minister Kitt informed the delegation that the next session of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue would take place in Dublin on 26-27 February next.
Note for Editors
Estimates of the number of Tibetans living in exile vary however it is believed that up to 130,000 Tibetans are living abroad (India 100,000; Nepal 25,000; Bhutan 2,000; Switzerland 2,000; Canada 600; United States 1500).
Some 85,000 Tibetan moved to India in 1959. India has permitted Tibetans to establish their own administration, based in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala. The Indian government has been flexible in its approach to the Tibetans, who have good relations with their Indian hosts.